A story is told of a young boy in an Israeli airport who ran ahead of his father, and when the father caught up with him, he scolded his son. The father reminded the son that even though the father’s tone was severe he was still to address him as 'Abba,' using a word of respect that has come down to us this day; as a word of authority, intimacy.
Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors to Christ! These words with which Saint John Paul II took the chair of Saint Peter on this day, Oct 22, 1978 still resounds in our ears and our hearts.
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Sitting on the porch recently, resting in the feeling of early fall, I marveled at the colors of the leaves. I noticed the faint chimes of a distant church playing the melody to Amazing Grace. The color of fall accompanied by a song of grace brought to mind the blessing and goodness of creation.
In the Bible, fire is often used to describe God’s burning love for humanity. The fire Jesus has come to bring is the fire of love, the fire of hope, the fire of faith, and the fire of justice. He is not bringing the fire of violence! Jesus’ words are much bolder and more powerful than violence, they are the fire of the Kingdom of God breaking into our world.
When Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple as a young infant, did they fully understand who He would be, and what He would do for the world?
In a homily I gave earlier in the week I mentioned that sometimes commercials come to mind when I begin to think about a homily. Well today when St. Paul was telling some Romans not to let sin into their lives, I thought of a commercial that features creepy crawly creatures that delight in having free range over us until one spray and they are gone. What would it be like if we could do this with sin? But it is not that easy.